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Islands in the Sky by Arthur C. Clarke

Islands in the Sky (1952)

by Arthur C. Clarke

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743920,012 (3.47)30
The technologically groundbreaking novel of space exploration from the only science fiction author nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.   Roy Malcolm has always been fascinated by space travel. And when he wins a voyage to the Inner Space Station as a game show prize, he's sure it's the trip of a lifetime. Before long, Roy is taken in by the young crew--and shares their adventures and lives.   One of Arthur C. Clarke's earliest novels, Islands in the Sky is particularly noteworthy for its description of geostationary communications satellites. While this technology was nonexistent during the writing of this book, it later became commonplace--and Clarke is credited with the first practical descriptions of such technology. This book is compelling not just as a fictional tale, but as an example of the prescient power of Clarke's vision.   "[Clarke is] one of the truly prophetic figures of the space age." --The New Yorker… (more)



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English (7)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Good, juvenile sci-fi... ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |

good wholesome stuff, with boys becoming men in space: our protagonist gets to stay in the big low-orbit space station, where the entire crew appear to be English and male, and experience a few other adventures but also learn some important lessons about life and about engineering (though nothing much about other matters, the only women in space being an actor making a movie in orbit and the members of a friendly family of Mars colonists). The most striking difference for me between Clarke's 1952 future and what has actually happened is that the cost of space flight has proven to be so high that economies of scale have pushed us much more to unmanned spacecraft and also to international collaboration than he anticipated, though I am sure he approved of both developments. ( )
  nwhyte | Dec 11, 2016 |
One of Clarke's earliest work was written as a young adult novel but the adventures of a boy on the space stations orbiting around the Earth are a great read for anyone who loves SF ( )
  TheCrow2 | Sep 3, 2013 |
This is one of Clarke's earliest and among his few young adult novels The book is centered upon Roy Malcolm, a teen who wins a trip to the Inner Space Station through a game show. That reminds me a bit of the set up of Heinlein's juvenile, Have Space Suit, Will Travel, but while that story is an adventure, this is more a space travelogue for a young reader interested in what it would be like to travel into space--and published in 1952, as you can imagine, a lot of the scientific details are very dated. It is interesting to see how prescient Clarke was, writing five years before Sputnick, but because there's not much story to it, I think it doesn't hold up as well as Heinlein's juveniles. Nor would I recommend this as an introduction to Clarke. Better choices would be A Fall of Moondust, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars, 2001: A Space Odyssey (film or novel) or a collection of his short stories. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Nov 1, 2012 |
hen George Lucas was filming the first Star Wars film, and the government authorities had to take a look at the plans for the X-Wing fighter to determine whether government secrets had been leaked out, they missed the boat by about 30 years. Science fiction writers had been guessing the state of things for ages, and it's truly a remarkable experience to see just how right they were. I just read the late Arthur C. Clarke's Islands in the Sky, and was fascinated with the intricate descriptions of the Space Shuttle, weather satellites, communication devices, ideas of orbiting solar energy panels, space stations..etc... all written in 1952! Simply amazing. How one man could think of the entire world so far ahead, and then live long enough to see it come to fruition. And we did go to Venus (although not a manned outfit) by 1985, but found it incredibly hot and uninviting. So the time frame was off a little, but the ideas were sound.

Another aspect was how similar this book is to Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. I know this comparison has been made before, some even suggesting that OSC copied it from Clarke (which is not true at all, but instead points to how amazingly accurate Clarke was when developing the science behind the novel). It is a homage to Clarke for Card to be so directly compared with him. The orbiting space "hotel", with it's rotating gravity wells, is almost identical to the military training station in Ender's Game. Also the ideas about where "down" was in space. There is room enough in this world for both novels.

One day, when the fascination for things of fantasy fade, when dragons are asleep on their hoards, and vampires are safely stored in their coffins, and wizards study the stars rather than alchemy, the jewels of science fiction will come back to enchant children once again. Islands in the Sky is currently out of print, and I only hope that one day that return to join the classics of the age, never to go out of print again. In fact, there are quite a few novels now that teenagers and kids can read from the masters of science fiction. They are valuable resources for teachers who want to incorporate science and math into reading. I'm gonna list some of them here, and will work on it more as a resource for teachers that come to Borders.

Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein

Red Planet also by Heinlein

Dolphin Island by Clarke

And every student should be exposed to the short story "Cold Equations," by Tom Godwin. Not to mention stories by Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov. ( )
  DenzilPugh | May 21, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Arthur C.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bink, WimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hartzman, ErichAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heinecke, LotharTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolonics, GabriellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mäkinen, Hugo L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oosterbaan, Nic.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schomburg, AlexCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vliek, MariekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was Uncle Jim who'd said, 'Whatever happens, Roy, don't _worry_ about it. Just relax and enjoy yourself.' I remembered those words as I followed the other competitors into the big studio, and I don't think I felt particularly nervous. After all, it was only a game... however badly I wanted the prize.
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A young boy wins at a quiz show and his prize is a trip to wherever he wants…
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